You can't go backwards.
That's something stupid Todd used to say, or probably still says, whenever someone makes a mistake or expresses regret about something. Every time he said it it would remind me to make my decisions more carefully, although it's not like Mario had to face a lot of tough decisions (stomp on the Koopa or don't.)
He actually said it to me the night I was transformed into Rob. He was comforting me and I was still in shock trying to come to terms with it, and I was bitching about how I should never have followed "him" to Maine, and he looked right at me and said it "Life is like Super Mario Bros... you can't go backwards." That's how I knew I was talking to my Todd. I still don't know how the impostor had me fooled, but "he" kept to himself a lot anyway... and Todd does have that reclusive side. It should've put up a red flag no matter what but hey, we had more than a slight rough patch.
Which is why I'm taking this thing with Rob's ex-wife quite cautiously. I don't want to screw something up. Even if I get the escape hatch in the summer and get to go back to my estrogen and progesterone, I'm still reckoning with two other peoples' lives; Rob's and Ingrid's... especially Ingrid's, since she has no idea who I really am.
Whatever it is about me, she likes. I can tell she's still physically attracted to Rob. In the course of managing my diet and even without any serious exercise, I've trimmed down a belt notch or two. This seems to be very common with Inn folks. I've also got a woman's eye for grooming; I wasn't ever that image-obsessed but I do know how I like my men. No Mario-stache, for example.
Come to think about it, it's not hard to see why she might be attracted to Alia-Rob. I don't talk to her like an enemy, I barely have the ability to acknowledge "our" past, let alone resent it. I talk to her like an intelligent, respectable individual, and I think she appreciates that. And then I got carried away and struck up a little flirtation, or I encouraged the flirtation she was sending out, maybe because I'm bored or lonely or because I feel bad about her situation. This is the incident I described here.
I'd spent a lot of time since then thinking about her. I've never been looked at, or spoken to, that way, by a woman before. Not even the lesbians I've known have ever been into me. The feeling of being wanted by a woman (and if my intuition serves, she does want me/Rob) is so different from the feeling of being wanted by a man. A man will usually pursue, and a woman wants to be chased (put in extremely generalized terms.) I've chased once or twice, particularly later in relationships once I've already been pursued (cough, Maine, cough) but this is different. This isn't about me wanting a boy to notice me. This is about getting the girl. The idea started to consume me a little bit.
When Greg/Priya wrote "Im surprised I held out longer than Alia, idve thought shed try it within 5 minutes of getting a penis." I was more than a little offended, not just by the lack of apostrophes (I am playing an English teacher after all) but by the notion that while it's okay for a man to be scared and overwhelmed by having female genitalia, that a woman would suddenly go hog wild.
No offense, friend, but why the hell would that be? Haven't I been just as traumatized as you? Shouldn't I be just as uncomfortable and overwhelmed? For a long while, I had no interest in indulging that particular hobby, even when Rob's body clearly wanted me to. The nights Todd stayed over (sorry dear) were very hard, pun intended, but I went past them because I was extremely overwhelmed by what was happening. Then I got so wrapped up in living Rob's life I barely had time to think about stuff like that.
But the sad truth is... I didn't outlast you. Not by my calendar. Back in October, I discovered some nudie pics on Rob's computer, pics of his ex-wife. Maybe he still carries a torch over her, maybe he hadn't gotten around to deleting them, maybe they're just good spank material. Personally, I found them arresting, and come to think of it, that may be the reason I find myself so infatuated by her.
So I did it. I didn't want to write about it at the time because it was embarrassing but now that Greg's come out with it, I might as well own up. What can I say... I found the process of getting there... more of a destination for a man than a journey. It happened just as I'd expect, but I was not prepared for how good it felt... for just an instant. And then it didn't feel so great and I thought I would never want to do it again, and I went down and felt sleepy.
But I did do it again, as time went by and I thought more about the good part than the aftermath, each time looking forward to that moment of glory followed by the leveling off as blood returns to the rest of me. Comparing the two is really... no easy feat. There's something imminently practical about doing this as a man, with a concrete beginning middle and end, and I actually kind of like that. I never really liked doing it to my own body, so the experience I am comparing it to is the more total sexual experience (what can I say? I don't do anything halfway.) Can't say a man's is worse, but definitely can't say it's better than a woman's at its best... the debate remains open I guess.
The opportunity arose, over the Thanksgiving holiday, to see Ingrid again. Rob's family is all in the Southwest and Ingrid told me that while it would be highly inappropriate to invite me over, she was thinking of me, and why not get a drink Thursday night?
So that's exactly what we did. I don't know what my objective was but I'd be lying if the notion of embracing the male perspective and seducing her hadn't popped into my mind. The night was going well, much like our earlier meeting, I was able to joke around with her and not seem too unlike Rob (probably due to Inn magic.) It got to the point where if I'd wanted her, I probably could have had her.
And then Mario popped back into my head at the end of the night. We were sitting in my car, saying "Yeah, I had a good time too" and all that, and the moment of truth came and I realized "If I do this, here and now... that's it. I've committed to something. I can't undo this." It's a thought I'd had all too often as a woman, and perhaps should have listened to more. She fumbled in asking me whether I might like to come in for a cup of coffee, and I told her no, it was late, I think I'll just go to bed. I gave her an awkward driver's seat hug and said I'd see her again. She got out and walked up to her building and I could sense her teeth and fists were clenched.
As I thought about it on the way home I thought back on it. Women really don't like putting themselves out there and being turned down. She is going to have, at best, a mixed view of this evening. There is a chance she'll never give me another chance again. That would work for me and allow me to continue living my life without interference from potential romantic partners... with the uncomfortable side effect that she's not too pleased with my teasing. May even have had a negative effect on her self-esteem, which I would feel guilty about, if so.
Then I realized... there's a chance this whole incident has just made her want more. If she really did like what she saw, then she probably isn't going to take the soft rejection as the end of it.
I don't know which is the case, and I don't know what to do about either.
Hey, just because I am actually a woman doesn't mean I understand them. We're complicated.